Budweiser Clydesdales in Charleston this week

Published: Nov. 26, 2012 at 8:53 PM EST
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CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The world-famous Budweiser Clydesdales, the symbol of quality and tradition for Anheuser-Busch since 1933, are scheduled to make several appearances in the Charleston area this week.

They are in town for a military tour and will be visiting the Air Force Base, but there are also a few opportunities for the public to visit with them.

The eight-horse hitch will be harnessed and hitched to the famous red beer wagon at the Piggly Wiggly located at 1981 Riviera Drive in Mt. Pleasant on Wednesday, Nov. 28 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., and on Saturday, Dec. 1 from 11 a.m. to 1p.m., the "Gentle Giants," as they are often referred to, will be at Cinebarre located at 963 Houston Northcutt Boulevard in Mt. Pleasant, with a special appearance from Santa Claus.

The public is welcome to come out to either of these events and have their picture taken with the horses.

The Clydesdales' appearance in Charleston is one of hundreds made annually by the traveling hitches. Canadians of Scottish descent brought the first Clydesdales to America in the mid-1800's. Today, the giant draft horses are used primarily for breeding and show.

Horses chosen for the Budweiser Clydesdale hitch must be at least three years of age, stand approximately 18 hands – or six feet – at the shoulder, weigh an average of 2,000 pounds, must be bay in color, have four white legs, and a blaze of white on the face and black mane and tail. A gentle temperament is very important as hitch horses meet millions of people each year.

A single Clydesdale hitch horse will consume as much as 20-25 quarts of feed, 40-50 pounds of hay and 30 gallons of water per day.

Each hitch travels with a Dalmatian. In the early days of brewing, Dalmatians were bred and trained to protect the horses and guard the wagon when the driver went inside to make deliveries.